Friday Faves January 3, 2014

ALL DOGS! What the...?

Paedomorphic Facial Expressions Give Dogs a Selective Advantage

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It's no big surprise that we prefer animals with baby-like features: that is what CUTE is all about! Konrad Lorenz called it "baby schema" (Kindchenschema). This study used adoption from a shelter as a proxy for active selection (hmmm...does preference equal evolution?) and looked at how often dogs "raised their eyebrows", which the authors claimed made the dogs look more "paedomorphic" (juvenile).  Two dogs were removed from the study because they took too long to get adopted (another hmmm...), and the results suggested that adoption rates for the remaining 27 dogs was related to how often they raised their eyebrows; more eyebrow raises = faster adoption. Read it for yourself here, yay OPEN ACCESS!

Do you know your dog's smell?

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Julie Hecht always brings us the latest and greatest in dog science, and here she tells us about a recent study where humans could identify their dogs by the smell of their bedding! (they were blindfolded, in case you were wondering). Read her blog, Dog Spies, here!

Dogs Poop in Alignment with Earth's Magnetic Field

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In this week's "!?!?!?!?" category, researchers found that German dogs preferred to defecate and urinate along the N-S axis. They made over 7000 observations of 70 dogs, which is pretty impressive. Although I'm still a bit perplexed, I think this is a good example of a "try this at home" experiment, I may start observing my cats in the litterbox.  Original article here!

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